Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New atom-scale knowledge on the function of biological photosensors

Date:
May 2, 2014
Source:
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland)
Summary:
The research groups have clarified how the atom structure of bacterial red light photosensors changes when sensing light. The research reveals structural changes in phytochrome protein when illuminated. The function of few biological photosensors are already utilised in other fields of science, especially in neurosciences.

The crystal structure of bacterial phytochrome changes when illuminated.
Credit: Academy of Finland

The research groups of Janne Ihalainen (University of Jyvδskylδ) and Sebastian Westenhoff (University of Gothenburg) have clarified how the atom structure of bacterial red light photosensors changes when sensing light. The research reveals structural changes in phytochrome protein when illuminated.

Related Articles


"The results are a unique demonstration of proteins' ability to structural changes in different phases of their operation. This helps to understand how the biological photosensors function. The modelling and utilisation of protein for other applications becomes much easier when the protein structures, their changes and the speed of change are known," says Professor Ihalainen.

The function of few biological photosensors are already utilised in other fields of science, especially in neurosciences. By utilising reactions that are controlled by light, it is possible to achieve new breakthroughs in the cell biological research and, for example, in medical applications such as in phototherapy and in molecular diagnostics.

Organisms use photosensor proteins to sense light on different wavelengths. For example, mammals have rhodopsin proteins in their eyes. Phytochromes, one of the photosensor proteins of plants, fungi and bacteria, are sensitive to red light. The function of these photosensors was known already in 1970s and 1980s, but their molecular-level operating mechanisms are still unknown.

A pioneering research method

Time-resolved wide-angle X-ray scattering was used to study structural changes of this rather large protein complex in a solution form. The technique, TR-WAXS, is relatively new and in this study a successful combination of the experimental data with the molecular dynamic simulations enabled to track the detailed structural changes of the protein.

"We hope that other groups using TR-WAXS would test similar data-analysis method as well." Ihalainen says.

The light sensitive phytochrome structures were clarified both in a crystal form and in a solution. From the crystal structures, it is possible to see that small movement of individual atoms (scale of 0.1 -- 0.2 nm) caused by the absorption of light is amplified to large structural changes (3 nanometres) in the whole protein complex. This amplification mechanism enables the light induced signal transmission from one protein to another very quickly and with precise replication accuracy. In turn, this signal transmission process initiates cellular-level changes in the organism.

The project "New strategies for detection conformational changes of proteins in real time" is funded by the Academy of Finland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heikki Takala, Alexander Bjφrling, Oskar Berntsson, Heli Lehtivuori, Stephan Niebling, Maria Hoernke, Irina Kosheleva, Robert Henning, Andreas Menzel, Janne A. Ihalainen, Sebastian Westenhoff. Signal amplification and transduction in phytochrome photosensors. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13310

Cite This Page:

Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). "New atom-scale knowledge on the function of biological photosensors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081335.htm>.
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). (2014, May 2). New atom-scale knowledge on the function of biological photosensors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081335.htm
Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland). "New atom-scale knowledge on the function of biological photosensors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502081335.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama Reveals Nuclear Breakthrough on Landmark India Trip

Obama Reveals Nuclear Breakthrough on Landmark India Trip

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 25, 2015) — In a glow of bonhomie, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveil a deal aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in nuclear trade. Pavithra George reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — In light of high-profile plane disappearances in the past year, the NTSB has called for changes to make finding missing aircraft easier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 22, 2015) — Classic children&apos;s toy Meccano has gone digital, releasing a programmable kit robot that can be controlled by voice recognition. The toymakers say Meccanoid G15 KS is easy to use and is compatible with existing Meccano pieces. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

Rumble (Jan. 22, 2015) — The VueXL from VX1 is a product that you install your smartphone in and with the magic of magnification lenses, enlarges your smartphones screen so that it&apos;s like looking at a big screen TV. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins